GETTING STARTED | Sweet Starts: What Local Leaders Learned as G.I.R.L.s


By Alison Bailin Batz

Food for thought: The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business and among the largest financial literacy programs in the world.

Not only that, but the Girl Scout programs themselves play a huge role in transforming girls into G.I.R.L.s – Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders –  as they learn essential life skills including decision-making, money management, people skills, business ethics and goal-setting that will stay with them forever.

We sat down this cookie season, which takes place from now until March 4, with some of the Valley’s top leaders to learn how cookies were, in part, to thank for their sweet success.

Marlene Imerzian
Owner & President, Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects
Girl Scouts expanded my life experience tremendously!  Through our badge work and projects, I was taught that we could undertake things we knew nothing about yet – and learn how to research, practice, and most important, make things. The idea of making and building continues to inspire me in my practice of architecture, especially with my work in helping design the Girl Scouts’ recently opened Bob and Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain.

Lauren Klein
Owner, High Spirited Cupcakes
It instilled a feeling of power and accomplishment. Nothing was handed to you; you had to work for your badges and most of the time work with others. It taught me the importance of working as a team and the give and take you need to be a successful group. Most important, though: self-worth. The Girl Scouts empower young women to succeed and provide the tools that aide you while growing up.  

Denise Seomin
Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications, The Phoenician
My first “pitch” was selling Girl Scout cookies! Being a member of this organization taught me respect, care and concern for others, and how to be a contributing member of society. As Girl Scouts, we realized we were able to make a difference through our actions. We were also mentored and encouraged, allowing us to believe we could do or be anything we set our minds to.

Teri Kelley
Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley
As a Brownie, I always looked up to the older girls who were leading programs for younger girls. As I became an older girl, my favorite activity was leading younger girls on hikes, through badge work, etc. The cookie sale itself gave me confidence in walking up to strangers to ask for their business.


Sen. Kimberly Yee
Arizona State Senator
Selling Girl Scout cookies door to door in my neighborhood was the perfect training ground to prepare me for grassroots campaigning. Very few people are comfortable doing a “cold call” knock on a neighbor’s door and being able to start up a conversation, but as a former Brownie and Girl Scout, we were trained to do that every year when we sold our boxes of cookies.  Today, I still go door to door in my neighborhood, but now I’m doing voter outreach and campaigning as a candidate for elected office.  


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